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TOMATO PUREE Peel 1 or 2 ripe tomatoes, cut in half and squeeze out seeds. Put in a blender and frappe with a pinch of sea salt until smooth and frothy. BASIL PUREE Place 1/2 cup washed, dried, and tightly packed basil leaves in a blender. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water and puree until very smooth. Add sea salt to taste and blend until incorporated. MOZZARELLA WITH JULIENNED TOMATO AND BASIL Cut 1 pound fresh mozzarella into 6 thick slices, and spread them on a plate in a single layer or slightly overlapping. Cut the outer flesh off 3 large tomatoes, reserving pulp, and cut into thin strips. Put in a bowl. Julienne as many fresh basil leaves as needed to equal the volume of the tomato strips. Add to the bowl and toss together with a pinch of sea salt. Place a mound of the julienned mixture on top of the cheese. Drizzle with 1-1/2 tablespoons basil puree. Finely chop the reserved tomato pulp and use as a garnish surrounding the cheese. BAKED TOMATO, MOZZARELLA, AND BASIL Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut 1/2-inch off the tops of 4 tomatoes. Save for another use. Scoop out the tomato pulp and save for another use. Place 2 large basil leaves in the bottom of each tomato shell. Cut 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella into 4 pieces. Fill each shell with cheese. Bake 8 to 10 min., until the cheese melts. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. Optional: Serve warm with tomato or basil puree. TOMATO AND MOZZARELLA PINWHEELS Cut 3 tomatoes into 9 thick slices (discard the tops and bottoms). Cut the slices in half to produce 18 half circles. Cut 1-1/4 pounds fresh mozzarella into 9 slices and cut into half circles. Alternate cheese and tomatoes in plates in pinwheel fashion. Place basil leaves in center. Decorate the edges of the plate with teaspoonfuls of basil puree. TOMATO AND MOZZARELLA "CLUB" Cut 1/2 inch off the tops and bottoms of 6 tomatoes and discard. Cut the tomatoes in half horizontally. Cut 1 pound fresh mozzarella into 6 thick slices. Sandwich cheese and fresh basil leaves between thick tomato slices, trimming off excess cheese to make the cheese conform to the tomatoes shapes. Place 4 toothpicks in each "sandwich," cut in quarters vertically, and turn quarter with points facing out. Serve with tomato puree, if desired. Tomato Puree, Basil Puree, and Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil: Four Styles (Serves 4 to 6) Copyright credit: Rozanne Gold, 1996 ? 1996 Lifetime Entertainment Services. All rights reserved. MC formatted using MC Buster by Barb at PK
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